31 Days of Horror 2021
When Morbidly Beautiful was launched on October 1st, 2015, our very first feature was a month-long 31 DAYS OF HORROR celebration, where we watched and reviewed a new to us horror movie every day in October.Read More
This year, as we celebrate our sixth year in operation, I wanted to return to our roots and revisit the original concept: a brief review of a first-time horror movie watch every day for the month of October. As new reviews get posted, I’ll be adding them to this page along with a brief synopsis. My hope is that you, right along with us here at Morbidly Beautiful, will be able to discover some great new indie horror that may have otherwise flown under the radar.
– Stephanie (The Angry Princess), Editor-in-Chief
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Click on the film title to read a more in-depth review of each day’s recommended watch.
October 1: TITANE (Julia Docournau, 2021)
Surprising at every turn, it’s at times wickedly funny, distressing and revolting, stylishly seductive, and ultimately quite moving. Debunking stereotypes linked to gender identity and ideas of heteronormativity, while making Cronenberg devotees salivate, TITANE deserves every bit of the hype. It will drive you to the very edge of your comfort zone and then unapologetically accelerate.
NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE is a tight hour and a half of a movie that is well-paced and engaging. Based on Adam Nevill’s novel, Santiago Menghini’s horror feature debut combines elements of real-world horror facing many undocumented immigrants with more traditionally terrifying genre conventions. A fun, thoughtful, and creepy little oddball, it’s an absolutely perfect way to pass an autumnal evening. Well played, Netflix.
October 3: Fungicide (Dave Wascavage, 2002)
Much like mushrooms themselves, it’s likely not to everyone’s taste, but if you’re the type of fan who likes their horror cheap, cheesy, and cheerful, FUNGICIDE is an absolute delight.
October 4: V/H/S 94 (Various, 2021)
Hard-core horror fans with blood lust, need to see this film. There was something gruesome to love in every scene of V/H/S 94. Even if some of the segments are more successful than others, each one was strong horror in its own twisted way. Some directors are new to the V/H/S franchise, and some have been here before, but all of them have a great future in genre filmmaking.
October 5: Slasher: Flesh & Blood (Series, 2021)
SLASHER: FLESH & BLOOD is a perfect binge watch for the Halloween season. The episodes are incredibly fun and will zip by. They draw the audience in and trying to guess what is going to happen and who it’s going to happen to is a lot of fun. It is bloody, silly, and impossible to turn away from.
October 6: Psycho Goreman (Steven Kostanski, 2020)
Psycho Goreman is the rare film I recommend without hesitation and consider essential viewing. It’s sweet, wildly original, gut-bustingly hilarious, and one of the most fun and feel-good movies I’ve seen in ages. There’s nothing else like it, and it’s nigh impossible not to love. It may not be scary, but if you’re interested in escaping some real-life horror for a bit, Psycho Goreman is pure cinematic medicine; the cure for what ails you.
October 7: Silent Hours (Mark Greenstreet, 2021)
Folks looking for a sexy and gruesome thriller, one which is heavy on the dark undertones, should certainly give this one a shot.
October 8: Demigod (Miles Doleac, 2021)
I love the setting of Demigod. The score, mixed with the forest location, makes it so atmospheric and perfect for the darker months. It’s not really scary, but it is spooky with all the woodland witchy cult vibes. Because much of the violence is implied or happens off-screen, it’s probably not one for the gore-hounds. However, it should find a satisfied audience in folk horror fans who appreciate moody, atmospheric films.
October 9: The Columnist (Ivo Van Aart, 2019)
The Columnist is a darkly funny satire about the power of words and the consequences of our actions. I know that some of you will be put off by the fact that The Columnist is in Dutch with subtitles, but I urge you to give it a go — even if you hate subtitles. It’s funny, ironic, on point, and a really fun watch. I adored the hell out of it.
October 10: Blood Conscious (Timothy Covell, 2021)
Blood Conscious is a clever and thrilling entry in the cannon of socially conscious horror. With a heavy focus on mood and tension, it explores the nature of fear and paranoia while examining bigger issues of trust, family, and race. Ambitious and intriguing with a sharp setup, this is one for fans of slow-burning psychological horror that succeeds in creating an air of uncertainty. With strong performances, solid writing and direction, and an exceptional score that helps drive palpable tension, there’s a lot to love here — but be prepared for a polarizing ending.
October 11: The Mutation (Scott Jeffrey, 2021)
Fun kills, great pacing, some wonderful creature costuming, and an absolutely killer finale make The Mutation a must-watch for low/no budget indie fans, and it could just be the hidden gem that you are looking for this Halloween season!
October 12: The Day of the Lord (Santiago Alvarado Ilarri, 2020)
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s just insane and brutal enough to appeal to fans of exorcism horror and the bleak and punishing sub-genre often condescendingly referred to as ‘torture porn’. Performances are over-the-top but work in the context of this dark and twisted possession tale. While you won’t find it super original, it’s a wild ride with a crazy climax that may leave you feeling entertained if not entirely satisfied.
October 13: Dementia 13 (Francis Ford Coppola, 1963)
In his feature film debut, Francis Ford Coppola was instructed to make a knock-off of Psycho, but the writer-director brought enough of his own ideas to really make the film his own. In this day of remakes and homages, it is a lesson aspiring filmmakers can learn from. Dementia 13 may not be the most original film, but its gothic atmosphere and mystery make it a worthwhile watch. And at just over an hour, it’s a lean thriller to add to your spooky season watchlist.
October 14: Fever Dream (Claudia Llosa, 2021)
Whether or not “Fever Dream” counts as horror is ultimately irrelevant. It’s a welcome addition to genre film-making, a lean little nightmare of a movie. And it is always exciting to have more genre films created by women (in addition to co-writing, Claudia Llosa also directed the film).
October 15: Superhost (Brandon Christensen, 2021)
With a unique and fun premise, deeper messaging, and a surprise appearance by Barbara Crampton, Superhost is a must-see for horror fans. It’s brutal, funny, and well-done horror.
October 16: The Empty Man (David Prior, 2020)
Once dead in the water, this is a film that found new life on streaming and went from getting unceremoniously dumped to being swooned over by critics. Time will tell whether The Empty Man has the staying power of a true cult hit, but I can’t think of too many other movies that have experienced this kind of reappraisal in such a short time. Whether it’s worthy of its newfound critical celebration may be a matter of personal opinion. But there’s enough filmmaking prowess on display to make me hopeful that the film’s success, however belated, means we can soon experience more of Prior’s uniquely frightening visions.
October 17: Jakob’s Wife (Travis Stevens, 2021)
Crampton revels in being so much more than Jakob’s wife. This film is a true celebration of what marriage and womanhood mean in today’s landscape. The idea of learning to love yourself through all parts of a transformative journey to self-discovery is what makes this a refreshing take on the vampire stories of old. Women aren’t victims; in fact, they hold more power than they can even imagine.
October 18: Scare Me (Josh Ruben, 2020)
No offense to heady horror, but sometimes, it’s really good to be reminded that movies are supposed to be an escape. There’s nothing wrong with a film that wants nothing more than to make you have a damn good time. Scare Me invites us along for a riotous ride and delivers on its promise of fun in spades. It’s absolutely joyful and one of my favorite in recent years. I can’t recommend this enough. And, if after watching, anyone wants to join me for some interactive campfire stories, I’m totally down for it!
October 19: When the Screaming Starts (Conor Boru, 2021)
When the Screaming Starts is a satisfying, creative blend of laugh-out-loud hilarity and appropriate grisly moments that aptly remind you that you are indeed watching a horror film. As much fun as there is to enjoy here, Boru also understood when to shift the tone and darken things up, doing so at precisely the right moment. The result is a film that leaves you entertained while giving you plenty of substance to think about.
We Need to Do Something is creative and appropriately horrifying, with just enough humor thrown in to make it work. It may not be flawless — part of it feel a little rough around the edges — but the complaints are minor. This is one of the most original films you’ve likely seen in a while and well worth your time.
October 21: In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2019)
Go into In Fabric expecting a straightforward story about a dress that kills, and you’re likely to be disappointed. Go in expecting a surreal, artful, unconventional, and deeply funny experience, and you just might want to try it on for size (don’t worry, it always fits).
October 22: Nosferatu the Vampyre (Werner Herzog, 1979)
Picking a vampire movie to watch is relatively easy. Watching one that leaves a deeper impression and stands out among the sub-genre takes a special film. Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre has some of the most beguiling shots put to film. At the same time, it stays true to the gothic roots of the original.
October 23: Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021)
Halloween Kills is a fantastic sequel that takes what the previous film did and goes into a new direction with it. There’s more death, more blood and more stakes as Michael made a grand spectacle out of his return home. He stages his murders almost like performance art this time around, shoving more knives into an already dead victim’s back just for the heck of it. What will the bodies look like next time? What is Michael’s true goal now that he’s come home? We’ll find out soon. Until then, I’d recommend you come check out this night in Haddonfield. It’s after dark, Halloween is in full swing, and the Boogeyman is out on the prowl.
October 24: Yummy (Lars Damoiseaux, 2020)
Yummy delivers on all fronts. It’ll make you laugh, gross you out, and the ending will come as a stiff jolt to the senses. If you grew up watching 80s horror, especially 80s zombie horror, you’ll get a nice nostalgia kick, too. It’s relentlessly fun and fast-paced, wickedly funny at times, and a visual treat. Definitely recommended, Yummy is a damn delight.
October 25: Night Teeth (Adam Randall, 2021)
You may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to vampire films, and Night Teeth probably won’t do much to change your mind. But it may just remind you what it is about the sub-genre that makes it so wildly popular and keeps filmmakers going back to a tried and true well. Though it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it definitely delivers a hell of a fun ride down a well-tread road.
October 26: Martyrs Lane (Ruth Platt, 2021)
In this Flanagan-esque tale of grief and lost ghosts, a young girl’s curiosity gets the best of her when she seeks out the reason why her mother is always sad. She is soon visited nightly by the ghost of a little girl, who gives her clues to solve the mystery. Get cozy in the tv room and unwind with this creepy yet understated slice of exquisite British horror.
October 27: Hypnotic (Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote, 2021)
Hypnotic is smart and ridiculous, genuinely tense, stylish, and break-neck-paced. The best of Netflix’s pretty solid Netflix and Chills lineup this October, this one could and should be an annual watch.
October 28: The Snare (C.A. Cooper, 2017)
If you’re in the mood for something different, and you have an appetite for arthouse horror, The Snare offers a blend of paranormal, psychological, and survival horror that is odd but intriguing. This isn’t popcorn fare, and it’s not a “fun” movie by any means. Chock full of confrontational content and intentionally uncomfortable scenes, this slow-burning nightmare asks a lot of its viewers. But there’s enough hypnotic mood, visual style, and compellingly weird content that I can recommend a watch for those who think that description sounds more appealing than repelling.
October 29: Roh (Emir Ezwan, 2019)
The magnificent Malaysian horror film Roh (Soul) is an astounding achievement that deserves mountains of praise. It’s a film I think every horror film needs to experience — both for the thrill of watching such a compelling and terrifyingly original vision and for the chance to discover a future master of horror at the beginning of a very promising career.
October 30: Antlers (Scott Cooper, 2021)
Perhaps better suited for the arthouse crowd than the horror purists, Antlers is a gripping exploration of human suffering and trauma masquerading as a supernatural creature feature. Technically masterful, boasting dread-inducing sound design and breathtaking cinematography, the horror elements do impress. But writer/director Scott Cooper invests heavily in his characters, putting mood and message front and center. This results in a slow burn that many may find too dull, or too oppressively bleak to enjoy. Yet, for the right audience, it’s more than worth a watch for its craftsmanship, ambition, and style. This isn’t popcorn fare; this is a deeply affecting feast that lingers.
October 31: Bleed With Me (Amelia Moses, 2020)
I fell in love with this movie and with Amelia Moses’s directing style. I really want to see more from this promising filmmaker. For audiences with the patience for a slow burn, Bleed With Me rewards that patience handsomely with a rare gift — a film that is both compelling and transcendent. I’m fortunate to have discovered this hidden gem and hope more viewers will find their way to this extraordinary piece of filmmaking.